Friday, September 10, 2010

Toledo: Where your treasure is...

I promise I'll try to get to blogging some of the conference I'm attending here in Madrid but today I took a break from theology and went to Toledo. Unfortunately, due to the trains I had to miss a theologian I had very much wanted to hear, Rafael Aguirre. When I came back this evening I found a quote from him that epitomized what I saw in Toledo: "Jesus did not come to found the Church but to spread the Kingdom of God. The Church is at its service but is not identical to it. The duty of the Church is to be faithful to the Kingdom of God, to reflect its values but without claiming to be identical with it or monopolizing it."

I think about that as I reflect on the depressed feeling I felt walking around the Cathedral of Toledo (admission: a whopping 7 euros as opposed to the 2.30 euros charged by several other churches). Just about everything was behind bars and what wasn't behind bars was encased in plexiglass to keep the faithful from touching it. There was an unimaginable quantity of luxurious items, gold, silver, beautiful art work worthy of a museum. I saw hardly anybody praying. The space was not conducive to that. I asked if I could get to one chapel that was roped off from the main sanctuary and was told I had to enter through a separate door but I could look past the police style barricades and the bars and possibly see something. I never did find the other entrance and gave up.

As I was walking back along a commercial street, I saw a sign inviting everyone to 24 hour, every day of the year adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A mere curtain separated this little chapel from the busy street (I suppose there was a door in the winter). Admission was free to anyone who cared enough to part the curtain and kneel before Jesus sacramentally present on the altar. There were no security guards, only a few faithful at prayer and an elderly priest going about his business of refreshing the holy water.

Imagine: all of the gold and silver and luxurious vestments, chalices, etc accessible by paying 7 euros and kept at a distance and behind bars, while the most precious gift of all, Jesus Himself, is free, unprotected, and available to anyone who would choose to spend time with Him. Where is our real treasure?

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